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SPOTLIGHT


ON BENELUX


Into the lowlands


Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg are banding together to attract a new phase of Chinese investment


the tiny country of Luxembourg. China Construction Bank (CCB) announced in September that it would open a branch and a subsidiary in the country. Insid- ers have said the subsidiary will likely become CCB's European headquarters, following on the heels of other Chinese banks such as Industrial & Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) and Bank of China (BoC).


F


ew people on the mainland will realize it, but Europe's largest clus- ter of Chinese banks is forming in


Te country of 500,000 isn't the only


northwestern European state to appeal to Chinese companies as a destination for their headquarters. And China's mega- banks aren't the only ones eyeing what have historically been called Europe's “Low Countries.” During the past two years, Belgium,


the Netherlands and Luxembourg – known collectively as Benelux – have experienced a rapid increase in Chinese investment. Now the countries are looking to reel


in a new phase of service-oriented invest- ment from China, their hooks baited with a platform of logistics and financial expertise. Te relatively small size of the Benelux market will make for a difficult catch, however. Many Chinese companies still view


the EU as dozens of separate markets. Changing this perception will be crucial to the success of Benelux's pitch. “What we are trying to promote – as


I know the Dutch and Belgians are doing – is serving the rest of the market as a


China Economic Review • November 2012 41


Imaginechina


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